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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Biggest Head Scratching Oscar Snubs

In honor of the Oscars and my recent post of predictions, I got to thinking how The Town was snubbed of an Oscar nomination.  I decided to look through history and do a little history into movies that we love and still talk about, and the movies that beat them.  Thus, here is my list of the biggest Oscar snubs in history (in no particular order)....

1. Citizen Kane
Considering this film tops so many lists as one the greatest if not the best film ever made, I'm shocked it did not win.  You know what won?  How Green Was My Valley.  What movie you ask?  I had the same question.  Also nominated that is far more famous than How Green Was My Valley is the classic noir film The Maltese Falcon.

2. Pulp Fiction
One of the most defining, brutal, honest, inspirational, well-written, badass, quotable movies ever made.  It was a complex blending of different storylines that included and focused on themes of redemption, forbidden love, vengeance, and reconciliation, and yet lost to the popular, but not as well crafted Forrest Gump.  I honestly believe Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption split the vote and what emerged was Forrest Gump.

3. Apocalypse Now
Guess what won.  I'll give you a hint.  It came out in 1979.  It's called Kramer vs. Kramer.  I'll let you in on another secret, The Academy made a mistake.  How many people have seen Kramer and how many people have seen the epic Apocalypse Now?  That's what I thought.

4. Saving Private Ryan
Admittedly, it lost to Shakespeare in Love which is phenomenal in its own right.  But if we could award this award based on the first ten minutes, or based on scale, or ambition, or quality blending of incredibly human stories of love, friendship, bonding, and sacrifice on the scale of WWII, instead of on marginally better audience reaction, then Saving Private Ryan wins every time.

5. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring/The Twin Towers
They lost to A Beautiful Mind and Chicago respectively.  Again, scope, scale, ambition, story, freshness, and awesomeness are clearly not weighted heavily enough because every single Lord of the Rings movie was the best movie of their respective year.  At least they awarded Return of the King 11(!) Oscars to award the entire series.

6. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
One of the most incredible films ever made.  It also belongs on the list of amazing movies no one watches.  The plot is what make this movie so incredible: When one rogue American military general obsessed with bodily fluids and hydration suffers paranoia he launches all of America's B-52 bombers to nuke the shit out of Russia, the President, Russian ambassador, Dr. Strangelove (a defected German scientist), a British communications officer, and a passionate gum-chewing American general must find a way to recall the planes before they drop a bomb and detonate Russia's doomsday device.  We follow the stories of the paranoid general and the British officer, the President and war council in the Pentagon, and the flight crew of a B-52 bomber.  One of the funniest, most well written script ever.

This year's biggest snubs:

  1. Christopher Nolan for Best Director.
  2. Daft Punk for Best Original Score.
  3. Andrew Garfield for Best Supporting Actor.
  4. The Town for Best Picture.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Academy Award Predictions

I'm only predicting the categories I know well and care about, also known as, the only categories anyone cares about.
Legend:
italicized nominees = The one I believe will win
Bolded nominees= The one I want to win
Underlined nominees = The Dark Horse

Best Actress
Annette Benning "The Kids Are all Right"
Nicole Kidman "Rabbit Hole"
Jennifer Lawrence "Winter's Bone"
Natalie Portman "Black Swan"
Michelle Williams "Blue Valentine
-----Natalie Portman was incredible and had the biggest challenge in this role than any other actress.  She completely deserves this no matter what the Blue Valentine hipsters say.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams "The Fighter"
Helena Bonham Carter "The King's Speech"
Hailee Steinfeld "True Grit"
Melissa Leo "The Fighter"
Jacki Weaver "Animal Kingdom"
-------I want Hailee Steinfeld to win this so bad.  She shouldn't even be nominated for supporting because she was the lead of that film.  She performed just as well as Jeff Bridges if not better.  But the Academy will give this to Helena Bonham Carter.  Just watch.

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale "The Fighter"
John Hawkes "Winter's Bone"
Jeremy Renner "The Town"
Mark Ruffalo "The Kids Are All Right"
Geoffery Rush "The King's Speech"
-------As great as Geoffery Rush was, I just don't see him beating the perennially show stealing Christian Bale.

Best Actor
Javier Bardem "Biutiful"
Colin Firth "The King's Speech"
Jeff Bridges "True Grit"
Jesse Eisenberg "The Social Network"
James Franco "127 Hours"
------Colin Firth was phenomenal and he had the greatest challenge.  Don't count out Hollywood's (and New York's) lovechild James Franco though.

Best Animated
Toy Story 3
The Illusionist
How To Train Your Dragon
------As great as Toy Story 3 was, The New York Film Critic's Circle awarded this prize to The Illusionist, that's why it's my dark horse.  But since Toy Story 3 probably won't win the best picture, it will win this.

Best Cinematography
Black Swan
True Grit
The Social Network
The King's Speech
Inception
------Black Swan will win this.  Aronofsky made ballet cool, that's hard to do.


Directing
Daren Aronofsky "Black Swan"
David O. Russell "The Fighter"
Tom Hooper "The King's Speech"
David Fincher "The Social Network"
The Coen Brothers "True Grit"
------David Fincher completely deserves this.  Tom Hooper did an incredible job telling a very personal, very specific, and very small story set into the context a very huge, world changing story.  The great feat here is that we were fully engaged in both and were rooting for a jerkish, spoiled, yet very human man who didn't believe he was fit to be king.

Music (Original Score)
How To Train Your Dragon
Inception
The King's Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
-----The only reason I chose any of these was because Daft Punk got snubbed.  Daft Punk wins.


Visual Effects
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Alice in Wonderland
Hereafter
Inception
Iron Man 2
------A city folded on top of itself. Is that not enough to win the award?

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone
------Aaron Sorkin wrote a monument to screenwriting with Social Network.  Don't be surprised if True Grit wins because that was also an ambitious project.  The reason I want Toy Story 3 is because we all became emotionally attached to pieces of plastic.  Yes, we have known them since 1996 but the characters developed so much in the last piece it's hard to discount Toy Story 3 for the award.

Writing (Original Screenplay)
Another Year
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
-----King's Speech will probably win given it's a strong story and really strong, succinct, and interesting dialogue, but no movie was as ambitious or original as Inception.  I would rather see Inception win just because we were pulled into a separate world (and various worlds within that world, and the other worlds could affect what happened in the worlds above and below it. Even though that should be bewildering, we all understood it, and that's proof enough the script was fully realized).

Best Picture
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone
----I do have 3 dark horse choices in this one.  This category is really tough to call given the quality, originality, and diversity of the films nominated.  The Social Network was phenomenal and it's a good pick considering most of the time the movie with the best director also gets the best picture nod.  The reason I both want Toy Story 3 and why I believe it is a dark horse is for the same reason Lord of the Rings: Return of the King won.  It's both a stellar movie and a lifetime achievement award and is more in recognition of the whole series than just the one film.  Don't be surprised if the Academy awards Inception either, they have been known to recognize the most ambitious and epic films before i.e. Slumdog Millionaire.